Don't just get an opinion...get the picture

Attached Garages & Indoor Air Quality

An attached garage is a very convenient option for your home. No more going out in inclement and cold weather to get to your vehicle. No more cleaning snow and ice off your vehicle. You can now clean the interior/exterior of your vehicle in the comfort of your heated attached garage. But are attached garages safe? In recent yearís concern have been raised about the health risks of attached garages for air bourn pollutants in the garage, and those gases infiltrating into your home.

If you attached garage is only used for storage of harmless materials than you have little to be concerned about. But if you are starting and/or running your vehicle (even with the door open) in your attached garage you could be sending high concentrations of harmful carbon monoxide and benzene gases (gasoline related pollutants) from your garage into your home. Even hours after you have shut off your vehicle it will produce emissions of various chemicals as the engine and its fluids cool. The pollutants in the garage air can be drawn into the house over time.

Your vehicle could be just one source for harmful gases entering your home from your attached garage. If you are using your garage as a storage space for all your gas, old paints, finishes, pesticides and herbicides, your snow blower and other gas powered equipment you could be adding to the harmful gases penetrating into your home.

There is an effective way in making sure that these harmful gases do not in up in your home. The first defense is to take extra precautions against the buildup of these gases in your home by storing chemicals and gas powered equipment in an outside shed. The second is to make sure that there is good air seal between of the walls and ceiling of your attached garage and your home. This is much easier if you are building a new home. For a prefinished home you may have to perform some renovations. Even finishing the drywall with drywall compound, painting, and sealing all cracks and joints with caulking will certainly improve air tightness. The third is to install an exhaust fan on a timer (washroom fan will do) in your garage to help vent these gasses to the exterior. Forth, if you are doing mechanical work in your attached garage consider a vent (approved) hose venting to the exterior to go onto your muffler. For safety install carbon monoxide detectors in your home.
 
But how can you tell if there are air leaks and where they are at between your home and attached garage? The best and most effective way is to have a thermal diagnostic service performed on your home, and on the space between your attached garage and your home. Know where the leaks are and have your work checked for safety reasons. Even if you are buying a new home with an attached garage you should ask your home builder what steps they have performed to alleviate this concern. Ask for their infrared thermal diagnostic report of the home performed by a certified thermographer. The report will tell you if problems existed and the seller can tell you how they were dealt them. Donít just get an opinion; get the picture.

Safety First with Your Attached Garage:
  • Never start a vehicle in a closed garage; open the garage doors first. Pull the car out immediately onto the driveway, and close the garage door to prevent exhaust fumes from being drawn into the house.
  • Do not use a remote automobile starter when the car is in the garage; even if the garage doors are open.
  • Never operate propane, natural gas or charcoal barbecue grills indoors and this includes an attached garage.
  • The installation of at least one CO detector in your home is a good safety precaution
 

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